Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier dog breed origin and history is not well documented. There’s a long stretch of time between 1588 when some elegant “puddle dogs” swam ashore after the wreck of ships of the Spanish Armada off the Irish coast and 1808 when the Irish Blue Terrier is first mentioned in writings. Nevertheless, it was noted that a breed of silver-blue dogs had been breeding true in County Kerry for more than 150 years. It has been theorized that the Spanish dogs interbred with local terriers to create the Kerry Blue. They were the crofters’ all-purpose dogs and were used for fighting, ratting, controlling farm pests, herding, hunting, guarding and even operating the butter churn. The breed was unkempt and rough-looking until it was introduced to the world of British dog shows in 1922 and exhibitors were persuaded to tidy them up. Since then, it has become the most well-tailored of terriers.

Kerry Blue Terrier Temperament: Kerry Blue Terrier is very intelligent, quick to learn and just as quick to try to outwit you. They enjoy human companionship but may be a bit feisty with other canines.

Kerry Blue Terrier

Kerry Blue Terrier

General Appearance: The typical Kerry Blue Terrier should be upstanding, well knit and in good balance, showing a well-developed and muscular body with definite terrier style and character throughout. A low-slung Kerry is not typical.

Kerry Blue Terrier Size: The ideal Kerry Blue Terrier should be 18-1/2 inches (47 cm) at the withers for a Dog, slightly less for a Bitch. In judging Kerries, a height of 18 – 19-1/2 inches (46-50 cm) for a Dog, and 17-1/2 – 19 inches (44-48 cm) for a Bitch should be given primary preference. Only where the comparative superiority of a specimen outside of the ranges noted clearly justifies it, should greater latitude be taken. In no case should it extend to a Dog over 20 inches (51 cm) or under 17-1/2 inches (44 cm), or to a Bitch over 19-1/2 inches (50 cm) or under 17 inches (43 cm). The minimum limits do not apply to puppies.

Weight: The most desirable weight for a fully developed Dog is from 33-40 lb. (15-18 kg), Bitches weighing proportionately less.

Kerry Blue Terrier Coat and Colour: Coat soft, dense, and wavy. A harsh wire or bristle coat should be severely penalised. In show trim, the body should be well covered but tidy, with the head (except for the whiskers) and the ears and cheeks clear. The correct mature colour is any shade of blue grey, or grey-blue from deep slate to light blue grey, of a fairly uniform colour throughout except that distinctly darker to black parts may appear on the muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet.

Kerry Blue colour, in its process of “clearing” from an apparent black at birth to the mature grey blue or blue grey, passes through one or more transitions – involving a very dark blue (darker than deep slate) shades, or tinges of brown, and mixtures of these, together with a progressive infiltration of the correct mature colour.

Up to 18 months, such deviations from the correct mature colour are permissible without preference and without regard for uniformity.

Thereafter, deviation from it to any significant extent must be severely penalized.

Solid black is never permissible in the show ring. Up to 18 months any doubt as to whether a dog is black or a very dark blue should be resolved in favour of the dog, particularly in the case of a puppy. Black on the muzzle, head, ears, tail, and feet is permissible at any age.

Head: Long, but not exaggerated and in good proportion to the rest of the body. Well balanced, with little apparent difference between the length of the skull and fore face. Skull flat, with very slight stop, of but moderate breadth between the ears, and narrowing very slightly to the eyes. Cheeks clean and level, free from bumpiness. Muzzle: jaws deep, strong and muscular. Foreface full and well made up, not falling away appreciably below the eyes but moderately chiselled out to relieve the fore face from wedginess. Nose black, nostrils large and wide. Mouth: Teeth strong, white and either level or with the upper (incisors) teeth slightly overlapping the lower teeth. Eyes dark, small, not prominent, well placed and with a keen terrier expression. Anything approaching a yellow eye is very undesirable. Ears V-shaped, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog, of moderate thickness, carried forward, close to the cheeks, with the top of the folded ear slightly above the level of the skull. A “dead” ear, hound-like in appearance is very undesirable.

Neck: Clean and moderately long, gradually widening to the shoulders upon which it should be well set and carried proudly.

Forequarters: Shoulders fine, long and sloping, well laid back and well knit. Legs moderately long with plenty of bone and muscle. The forelegs should be straight from both front and side view, with the elbows hanging perpendicularly to the body and working clear of the sides in movement, the pasterns short, straight, and hardly noticeable.

Body: Back short, strong, and straight (i.e., level), with no appearance of slackness. Chest deep and of but moderate breadth. Loin short and powerful with a slight tuck-up, the ribs fairly well sprung, deep rather than round.

Hindquarters: Strong and muscular with full freedom of action, free from droop or crouch, the thighs long and powerful, stifles well bent and turned neither in nor out, hocks near the ground and when viewed from behind, upright and parallel with each other, the dog standing well up on them. Feet should be strong, compact, fairly round and moderately small, with good depth of pad free from cracks, the toes arched, turned neither in nor out, with black toenails.

Tail: Should be set on high, of moderate length and carried gaily erect. The straighter the tail the better.

Gait: Both forelegs and hind legs should move straight forward when travelling, the stifles turning neither in nor out.

Faults: An undershot mouth should be strictly penalised.

Disqualifications: Solid black. ; Faking or dyeing.

Links: Kerry Blue Terrier clubs: US; UK